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Meet The ‘Pro-Israel’ Northern Irish Party In Britain’s New Coalition

Britain’s Conservative Party has announced a new parliamentary coalition, with the small Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland.

Prominent British Jews have hailed the prospect of a powerful DUP in the past. President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews Jonathan Arkush told The Jerusalem Post that a majority coalition involving the DUP would be “positive news” for the country’s Jewish community and for Israel.

But the party has baggage, too.

- Far right ties: The Ulster Defence Association, a right-wing paramilitary group allied to the DUP, is said to be responsible for close to 400 deaths since their founding during the region’s sectarian strife, and had deep connections to South African apartheid.

- LGBTQ and reproductive rights: The DUP has strongly rejected any legislation that would expand LGBTQ rights in Northern Ireland, starting with the “Save Ulster From Sodomy” campaign from 1977to 1982. Since 2015, they’ve voted against any attempt to allow same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

- Brexit: In March, DUP MP Sammy Wilson appeared to endorse a party member’s desire to “get the ethnics out” via stricter immigration laws as a part of Brexit.

Contact Jesse Bernstein at bernstein@forward.com or on Twitter, @__jbernstein

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Meet The ‘Pro-Israel’ Northern Irish Party In Britain’s New Coalition

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